May 29, 2020 – For ten years now, students in Santa Fe College’s Construction and Technical programs have partnered with Habitat for Humanity to build a home for a family in North Central Florida. Thursday morning, the latest house rolled off the Northwest Campus to its permanent location in Gainesville.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, which sent students to online-only learning in mid-March, students learning carpentry, electrical, plumbing, HVAC and other trade skills worked alongside Habitat for Humanity, the Builders Association of North Central Florida and the recipient family to build the new home.
Santa Fe College President Paul Broadie II, Ph.D., called the partnership with Habitat for Humanity and the Builders Association of North Central Florida an innovative collaboration that serves as the “bricks and mortar of the college’s mission statement to add value to the lives of our students and enrich our community,” adding that “student’s get practical, hands-on training that supplies the construction industry and building trades with a highly skilled workforce and strengthens our local economy. At the same time, the dream of homeownership comes true for a deserving family in our community.”
Demetri and Shaquana Perry, the family who received the home, spent over 200 hours each working on Habitat houses for other people, before adding the additional 200 hours of sweat equity working on their new home.
The COVID-19 pandemic will delay the move-in date for the Perry family, as Habitat for Humanity will take guidance from federal, state and local health officials before allowing volunteers to work in close spaces while completing the finishing touches on the house.
Rod Thomas, who chairs the Construction and Technical programs at SF, added that the house “provides hands-on training opportunities for our Construction Management students while also advancing the college’s role in providing an affordable home for area residents. We have reached a real milestone with the delivery of the tenth house and we look forward to delivering many more in the future.”
Work on the 11th house is scheduled to begin in the fall.